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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Would it be better if doctors clinics were open 24 hours instead of having people go to emergency departments?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24655points) January 9th, 2018

To save money and to free up resources?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

Mariah's avatar

Better for whom? Patients? Maybe, but it doesn’t sound practical to me from the doctors’ perspective. It wouldn’t save them money or free resources because the doctors’ offices would need enough employees to staff their office 24/7 and would have to pay those people.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Mariah maybe one clinic could be open 24/7 per city.

Mariah's avatar

Wouldn’t it pretty much just be functioning as an emergency room at that point though? They’d get more patients than they could realistically see, they’d have to triage them, etc…

elbanditoroso's avatar

Who is saving money?

TO staff a 24 hour clinic, you need doctors, nurses, receptionists, lab people, etc. Depending on busy it would be, you might need 12–15 people there 24 hours a day—and they would still be limited as to what they could do.

Emergency rooms aren’t cheap, but their costs are absorbed by the hospital in general to some degree, and they have better equipment and care. And they’re staffed 24/7 anyway.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@all Thanks for sharing. In Alberta we have a free 24/7 nurse on 811. It is a start. In the States they have an 24/7 online doctor for a fee.

BellaB's avatar

There are a couple of 24/7 clinics in Toronto. The closest one to me was developed as an alternative to hospital care about 70 years ago. They’ve got everything there. Very useful and much nicer environment than the nearest ER.

Most useful are the 24/7 medical info phone lines. My dad and I have used them a few times over the years.

funkdaddy's avatar

Most doctor’s offices have an after hours line that you can contact in an emergency. They mostly just tell you either that you’re all good and call back in the morning, or to go to an ER, but there’s also a whole industry built up on after hours answering services. I don’t believe I’ve ever been charged for an after hours phone call.

There are also 24/7 free standing ERs throughout the US. (freestanding meaning not attached to a hospital) It’s kind of a racket, but they’re the latest hotness because insurance will see it as an ER visit rather than a clinic visit. They’re generally staffed by one doctor on a 24 hour shift (so they sleep there) one nurse, one front desk employee, and maybe a tech for x-rays and labs. The primary expense is in setting up the location, because there are more requirements to be an ER, so you need more equipment. In exchange they charge like an ER and an average visit is several thousand dollars.

And then there’s minor emergency/urgent care clinics that are able to handle less serious things, but they look about the same so people often believe they’re in a minor emergency clinic, but really are in an ER.

I would imagine eventually there will be legislation stipulating some level of clarity between the two, but as it stands now several companies are basically in heavy expansion mode to try and establish as many ERs as possible.

There’s a lot of 24 hour options as it stands, I don’t think your primary care physicians are necessarily looking for a way to expand their hours even further.

zenvelo's avatar

Really? What for? If it isn’t an emergency, why do you need to go to the doctor in the middle of the night? What a waste of resources.

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